I can count my very close friends on two hands. And if I subtract my family and husband, I can count my very close friends on a couple fingers. I don't think this makes me a loner, or at least this characteristic in particular. I think it just makes me picky, and I embrace my inner picky. Because this means to me that I have very high standards. The fact that my family and my husband are enough to make me a double-fisted friend-haver indicates I was born and have chosen well. That's good stuff. However, the pickiness has been a bur in my saddle lately.
When I was a working mom, it took a herculean effort to do anything past the boundaries of my house that didn't involve a member of my family. When I played semi-pro football, Madeleine came with me to the team meetings. Date night was a walk around the block to my brother's house, where my sister-in-law would cook up something I couldn't. And then we'd party like aging rock stars in their basement. I didn't have a single friend whom I would consider calling for lunch on a Saturday.
Now, even though it still takes a herculean effort to leave the compound, it is my sanity. I have to leave home and I have to speak to other adults in person. For a while idle chatter at the (goddamn) Childrens' Museum sufficed, but the (goddamn) Childrens' Museum parents are usually with other parents because in that (goddamn) place it's safety in numbers. Then idle chatter would get a little more personal as I began to recognize moms and dads at The (goddamn) Carousel or (goddamn) Dragon's Hollow. And there. I had friends. We had stuff in common (hatred of aforementioned Childrens' Museum/Carousel/Dragon's Hollow, aversion to kim-chee, and so on). We had kids. How convenient! I suddenly became aware that the world was potentially full of people I might like. How about that?
So now I've got friends. Plural. Several - hell, let's say Many. They're on speed dial and I know what their houses look like when they're not cleaned up for company. But uhhhhh. Hm. That's kind of how I've been feeling about it. I truly enjoy my friends, but sometimes there's something
. And the more I dwelled on this something, this something that set my friends apart from my Very Close Friends, the less sociable I've been.
Until a couple weeks ago. One of my Many
friends and I discussed it and picked it apart. It's like, once you've had Friends - the real deal, like if you were to send them you would bubble-wrap them and insure them for the max amount - there's always an internal frown - a Hm for the new people you meet and enjoy. We determined this: you have to look at your Capital-F-Friends as a circle of qualities: compassionate, intelligent, reliable, funny, good listeners (that one's from Tiny). And little-f-friends sometimes hover around that inner-circle, intersecting in certain parts, but maybe not all
the parts, and that'll leave you a little Hm.
So right now I'm looking at my little-fs, and contrary to how this reads so far, I feel better. I recognize that maybe little-f #1 might not be a great listener, but she's hilarious and loves children. Little-f #2 is also hilarious and intelligent, but maybe not terribly reliable. In fact, all the little-f's are human, and for me to question or critique their qualities is not
compassionate or a characteristic I would like to see in a friend. Big or litte f.